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Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.”
— John F. Kennedy (1917–1963)

Photographers Are Angry That Yahoo Is Selling Their Flickr Photos And Not Giving Them Any Money

Flickr/M01229Photographers are angry. Photographers are really annoyed because Yahoo! is selling their “commons” Flickr pictures — intended for free distribution — for profit. 
Even Flickr’s founder has called the move “shortsighted”.
Yahoo! owns the photo sharing platform and announced its plans last week. The Wall Street Journal reports the company will start selling prints of 50 million “Creative Commons-licensed” (CC) images on canvas for around $49 each — and no payments will go to the people who actually took the shots. Only a “small sticker bearing the name of the artist” will feature on the canvasses. There will also be some handpicked images, which don’t have the CC license. Of those, 51% of sales revenue will go to the photographers in these cases. 
Photographers who label photos on Flickr’s with the CC category make those images free for commercial use. Anyone can have them. You can take them and sell them if you want, too. Photographers generally offer their

work for free like this because it’s a good way to get your name out there in a market saturated with cheap/free photos.
The problem is that photographers generally don’t expect CC images to be used in a way that makes any money. Yahoo, however, has the power to create a massive market in these images but it is creaming off the CC images (for which no payment is required) and not focusing on the “rights reserved” images which legally require payment.
The effect of this, some photographers believe, will be that artists stop offering their work for free. That would stop Yahoo from selling their images, but it would also stop the free exposure and credit they get when their pictures appear on blogs and news sites (like Business Insider). Yahoo seems not to have taken a more obvious route: to sell CC photos but offer the originators a cut of the sale, the same way Google and Apple offer app developers a cut of sales from apps that are distributed in their apps stores. (Of course, it’s much more difficult to verify the original owner of an image than an app.)
One photographer, Jeffrey Zeldman, has written an enraged blog post about the situation, where he calls Yahoo! “cheesy” and “desperate”.
“As a photographer, I now have to choose whether to prevent people from using my photos, or prevent Yahoo from selling them. I can’t have both,” he says.
“I want people to use my photos. That’s why I take them. I want that usage to be unencumbered. But Yahoo selling the stuff? Cheesy, desperate, and not at all fine with me. I pay for a Flickr Pro account, and am happy to do so. That’s how Yahoo is supposed to make money from my hobby.”

“It’s like helplessly watching a cocaine-addicted friend snort up their kid’s college fund. Come on, Yahoo,” Zeldman says. 

He explains he’s used Flickr for years and loves it. But adds that it’s now falling on its knees. 
“It’s like helplessly watching a cocaine-addicted friend snort up their kid’s college fund. Come on, Yahoo,” Zeldman says. 
Others align with him on the issue. Phil Wolff says Yahoo!, through Flickr, is a “custodian” of photographers’ art, and the new relationship is a conflict of interests that “muddies waters that should be clean and transparent.” 
And Glenn Fleishman adds: “I honestly cannot get behind this. I never wanted my images to be sold or used for non-editorial purposes without permission or licensing fees.”
There are seven different license options on Flickr. Here they are: 
Wikipedia
And here’s a helpful key, which explains them:
Wikipedia
Not everyone is venting. The WSJ reports less than 50% of those contacted expressed upset. And the company is not breaking any laws.
Flickr vp Bernardo Hernandez says photographers should have indicated their images weren’t meant for commercial purposes. He adds those protesting should withdraw their images.
Indeed, angry photographers can get round these unwanted sales. As Engadget notes, creatives can simply revoke commons usage and apply a different licence to their pictures. The thing is, this would seriously limit the availability of material on Flickr — and go against the whole “sharing” idea so integral to the site. With that in mind, Yahoo! could be really damaging the photo-sharing aspect that is at the heart of Flickr — and that might cause people to stop using it.
Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield says on Digital Reader that the move is “a little shortsighted” and adds: “It’s hard to imagine the revenue from selling the prints will cover the cost of lost goodwill.”


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